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#1 2006-05-06 13:38:15

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Zen and Mikkyo

Here is some stuff I was thinking about for some time while browsing  some of my books on Buddhism and it seems to me that the Fuke Shu was also largely influenced by Mikkyo even more than Zenshu from what I was able to understand. So here is what I was able to gather please feel free to give me your comments and ideas or any type of input.

From what we know the history of the Fukeshu in Japan seems to be largely based on real characters that existed in history but to which we cannot verify any direct link to the Shakuhachi itself.

When we look in the religious aspect of the Shakuhachi we seem to be always linked to the Rinzai-Shu. To me this seems to be only because Rinzai Gigen was traveling for a while with  Fuke. Now that being said the first 3 classical honkyoku pieces are said to have been brought in to Japan by Muhon Kakushin who was a Shingon monk who went to China to study Zen.  Again this information seems to be also false since in records Muhon Kakushin seems to have had no links with the Bamboo flute when he came back from China.


Now lets say that Muhon Kakushin really was the one to bring Shakuhachi for sure to Japan. When he came back from China he still stayed connected to the Shingon school  explaining why many aspects of the shakuhachi are more connected to Mikkyo than Zen.

Here are some of my examples

The 5 holes of the shakuhachi being connected with the 5 elements and the 6th hole being conscience. This is a theme that is seen more in Mikkyo than Zen since it relates to what is called the Gorinto. The Gorinto  is actually the 5 elements pagoda that is supposed to hold the remains of Shakyamuni Buddha. Usually we see the Gorinto in the hands of Bishamonten. Bishamonten is considered the guardian of Buddhism and is also largely used in esoterical Buddhism. You can also see the gorinto on the tombstones of Buddhist followers when you visit cemeteries in Japan. Not to forget the gorinto is also the top part of any Shakujo.


Now for the musical part. When you listen to the Tendai and Shingon shomyo (Chants) in most of them you can hear intonations and combinations that are more than close to honkyoku. Also please do no get mistaken Shomyo are not sutras at all. They are hymns done to accompany sutras in formal ceremonies. The reason why I say this is because many people say that the honkyoku are musicalized sutras this is actually false since there is no sutras that I know of that resemble even closely any shakuhachi piece itself in sound and in essence also.



Thank you for reading my rant hoping to read some of your input and get some serious discussion started.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#2 2006-05-08 14:01:20

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nrre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Hi there.

Regarding shakuhachi history:
It has been hard to know what do believe in shakuhachi history. Lots are myths and lots are created by the Fuke sect themselves when they needed to become a recognised sect by the Shogun Bakufu. They then wrote this book called Kyotaku Denki Kokujikai (or this is the annotation of it), which scholars today know has been falsified.

Gishin wrote:

Now lets say that Muhon Kakushin really was the one to bring Shakuhachi for sure to Japan. When he came back from China he still stayed connected to the Shingon school  explaining why many aspects of the shakuhachi are more connected to Mikkyo than Zen.

Well, there is a problem here. Organologically, the shakuhachi is very particular and belongs to a catagory of instruments for itself due to the shape of the mouthpiece (oblique cut outwards). The gagaku shakuhachi that was imported from China via Korea in the 8th century had that. Some examples can still be seen in the Shoso-in collection. When Kakushin went to China, the flute that had that mouthpiece was apparently and surely extinct (according to organologists and historical ethnomusicologists). So, he cannot have brought that back to Japan. Did he then bring the xiao back? No, not according to again scholars, as the distinction between these two flute types are so particular that they see them as instruments decending from totally different origins. So... where and when did the shakuhachi arrive in Japan? Well.. in the gagaku ensemble in the 8th century. The shakuhachi disappeared soon after from the ensemble, but then appeared again - with that particular mouthpiece, and changed to 5 holes instead of 6, which fits Japanese music way better than the 6 holes one, which fits Chinese music. So, it went through a Japanesation process.

Gishin wrote:

Now for the musical part. When you listen to the Tendai and Shingon shomyo (Chants) in most of them you can hear intonations and combinations that are more than close to honkyoku. Also please do no get mistaken Shomyo are not sutras at all. They are hymns done to accompany sutras in formal ceremonies. The reason why I say this is because many people say that the honkyoku are musicalized sutras this is actually false since there is no sutras that I know of that resemble even closely any shakuhachi piece itself in sound and in essence also.

I once did an analysis project of shingon hymns and shakuhachi honkyoku. There is an aesthetic and ornamental relationship. But  not that much. So, you may be right here. Anyway, the komuso apparently did neither sutras nor zazen...

kiku


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#3 2006-05-08 14:56:21

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Gishin wrote:

Thanks fo the input.

Also I truly feel that whoever made up the Komuso story was very clever and knew their History of Buddhism pretty well and also knew about its concepts as well. But I still find strange that they chose to have a link more to Rinzai than Shingon since Muhon Kakushin was a Shingon monk and the 5 holes that relate to the 5 elements plus the story of how the 3 first original pieces were invented tend to lean more in the Mysterious side than Zen-Shu.


When you say you did not find much relation to shomyo other than some aesthetic and ornamental relationship. I would have to somehow disagree since it depends on what kind of shomyo you heard in Shingon or Tendai plus not only listening to it but analyzing the meaning of some of the chants. Also we have to bear in mind how large shomyo can be since there is 3 ways of singing Shomyo in Japan the Sanskrit way, Chinese or Japanese. If you are interested I have the 2 full encyclopedia of Shingon and Tendai shomyo on CD with the written partitions and interpretations of the scores.

Have a nice day!


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#4 2006-05-08 16:44:28

dstone
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From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2006-01-11
Posts: 552
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Gishin wrote:

When you listen to the Tendai and Shingon shomyo (Chants) in most of them you can hear intonations and combinations that are more than close to honkyoku.

Hi Gishin.  These shomyo sound like they're worth listening to, historical theories aside.  I have two tracks in my collection that I categorized as "Buddhist chants" (shomyo?).  Shichi no Bongo and Fudo-san.  Are these titles you recognize?  Listening to them again, I see qualities of honkyoku such as articulations on a note, bending up into sustained tones, etc.  Attempting to play along with them (poorly!), it seems like they were constrained to just a few notes of what would be a shakuhachi scale.

Do you have particular CDs or catalog #s you'd recommend if I wanted to sample more shomyo?  Thanks!

-Darren.


When it is rainy, I am in the rain. When it is windy, I am in the wind.  - Mitsuo Aida

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#5 2006-05-08 17:44:33

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Hi Darren


Yes I do know Fudosan and Shichi Bongo San. Fudo san is only used in Shingon as far as I could learn and Shichi Bongo san is used in Both Shingon and Tendai.

Sadly the books and CD's I have are all stuff I got in Japan from various temples and organizations. They are also very pricey and you have to be very crazy like I was to get all those but now I dont care much about what I paid anyway so if you are really serious about this I will be more than happy to share this stuff with you. Like I said earlier I have the complete shomyo of both Tendai and Shingon school in Book and CD format. For the Shingon version I only have the old notation which is very similar to shakuhachi I would have to say that somehow Kurosawa Kinko must have based some of his notation system on this. For the Tendai school I also have the complete scores in Classical notation and western tadpole notation <Very usefull to play them on Shakuhachi by the way wink > and I also have the Godaisan (Wutaishan) version of the Tendai shomyo as well. In some other Schools I also have some Kegon Shomyo and Rinzai.


If you want drop me a email and we get see how we can share this stuff.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#6 2006-05-09 02:48:25

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nrre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Hi Gishin.

Gishin wrote:

Also I truly feel that whoever made up the Komuso story was very clever and knew their History of Buddhism pretty well and also knew about its concepts as well. But I still find strange that they chose to have a link more to Rinzai than Shingon since Muhon Kakushin was a Shingon monk and the 5 holes that relate to the 5 elements plus the story of how the 3 first original pieces were invented tend to lean more in the Mysterious side than Zen-Shu.

The Komuso are a historical fact. They surely excisted! I wouldn't say the komuso story is made up, just the old historical link is forged. Apprarently by doing this forgery, they were immediately recognised as a religious sect and granted special privileges.

The way the 3 first pieces were made is told like this in Kyotaku Denki Kokuji Kai:
The great Zen Master Fuke Zenji or Chen-chou Pu-ko in Chinese rang hand bells and taught his wise words. Attracted to his teachings Ch Haku (or Chang Po) wanted to become a disciple but was refused. Ch Haku then made a bamboo flute (he was appaerently already into bamboo flutes) and played a piece in reminescence of the hand bells. This 'piece' was handed down for 16 generations when Ch San (the 16th generation player) met Kakushin and taught him the piece. That piece was Kyorei. The bells Fuke Zenji played were called kyotaku. Kakushin then took the flute and the piece with him to Japan in 1254 and founded a temple in Kishu. One of his disciples, Kichiku wished to play in the streets and at every gate, got the permission to leave. He stayed overnight in the shrine of Kokz-d at the top of Asamagatake Mountain. He had a dream where two pieces of flute was heard. Kichiku returned to Kakushin, who named these two pieces Mukaiji (Flute in the foggy sea) and Kokji (Flute in the empty sky). These two pieces and the piece and Kyorei, which Kakushin learned from Ch San, are regarded as the three original pieces on which all honkyoku is based (Yamamoto 1795 [Tsuge 1977: 51]).

Take care,
Kiku


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#7 2006-05-09 07:41:56

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Sure all those are all true historical facts according to the Kyotaku Denki Kokuji Kai but nonetheless  there is no real link to Muhon Kakushin with the Fuke shu or the Shakuhachi other than this made up story not saying it is good or bad just that it is very well made and useful to their cause in the old days and now useful to us to gain some inspiration when we play. Moreover the whole reason for my post is to make others realize that even if the Komuso existed under a more Zen presentation. The original points used in the creation of their 3 first classical pieces has more to do with mikkyo than Zen. This goes on to say that Zen and Mikkyo are much closer and intermixed that people will want to admit. Also I feel that it was easier for them to input some mysterious inspiration to make it more of a religious movement in order to increase their legitimacy and acceptance at that time.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#8 2006-05-10 00:02:36

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1521
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Gishin wrote:

This goes on to say that Zen and Mikkyo are much closer and intermixed that people will want to admit.

So is this in service of attempting to introduce people on this forum to Mikkyo or Reiki or other religious traditions?


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#9 2006-05-10 00:52:58

Karmajampa
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From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

I'm not a scholar on Shakuhachi or Zen, but I love both. Regarding the comment that Honkyoku relate to sutra, I always felt they are more similar to mantra, both being sound, or transmission through listening. And it seems that historical views support this similarity in that Honkyoku were transmitted through listening, awaken through hearing. I like this in that one would go and explore what they heard or thought they heard, and that exploration would be directly relevant to the player, correct or not.

Also I feel that in the present we use whatever we have to unfold, myth or fact, both can contain truth.

I would be interested to be able to hear the CDs you have. Could this be possible somehow ?

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#10 2006-05-10 07:30:01

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Chris Moran wrote:

Gishin wrote:

This goes on to say that Zen and Mikkyo are much closer and intermixed that people will want to admit.

So is this in service of attempting to introduce people on this forum to Mikkyo or Reiki or other religious traditions?

Sorry to be rude but here is my simple answer to you on this subject. WHAT ABOUT NO!!!

Now that being said I am sad that you had to think my post had that hidden meaning. Al I am trying to do is share some expereinces and insight in being able have a clearer picture of what was the real religious/spritiual aspect or elements used on the fuke school. Any this part of the forum is called Zen so even if this was not my intention to raise up your alarm. It is bound to happen that someday someone will show up here and try to talk religion and to be honest no matter what will be written it might be interesting to see what they have to write as long as we dont deal with fanatics.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#11 2006-05-10 07:31:38

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Karmajampa wrote:

I'm not a scholar on Shakuhachi or Zen, but I love both. Regarding the comment that Honkyoku relate to sutra, I always felt they are more similar to mantra, both being sound, or transmission through listening. And it seems that historical views support this similarity in that Honkyoku were transmitted through listening, awaken through hearing. I like this in that one would go and explore what they heard or thought they heard, and that exploration would be directly relevant to the player, correct or not.

Also I feel that in the present we use whatever we have to unfold, myth or fact, both can contain truth.

I would be interested to be able to hear the CDs you have. Could this be possible somehow ?

Kel.

Sure I will be happy to share most of what I have. I was planning to maybe just do some upload/Download session via MSN. Anyway drop me a email and we will see if we can arrange something.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#12 2006-05-10 09:47:08

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Gishin wrote:

Now that being said I am sad that you had to think my post had that hidden meaning. Al I am trying to do is share some expereinces and insight in being able have a clearer picture of what was the real religious/spritiual aspect or elements used on the fuke school. Any this part of the forum is called Zen so even if this was not my intention to raise up your alarm. It is bound to happen that someday someone will show up here and try to talk religion and to be honest no matter what will be written it might be interesting to see what they have to write as long as we dont deal with fanatics.

Even if people are fanatics that's OK as long as there are no personal attacks.  As you rightfully pointed out this is the Zen forum. That's why we subdivided the forum into different sections, so people would be comfortable discussing anything related to shakuhachi without having to wonder, "Is this appropriate?" Just look for the closest forum heading. Maybe Chris's question was not accusatory in nature. Don't worry about it. And if people want to discuss anything NOT related to shakuhachi there's always "Off Topic".


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#13 2006-05-11 02:09:21

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nrre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

And since there was a strong connection to religion and shakuhachi... it is totally fair that we will talk about that connection.
In fact I have been thinking about that Mikkyo connection, although the similarities to me doesn't give me the proof of a direct link - quite yet. It somehow still - unless I see more similarities - give me an indication of aesthetic values in a country and in particular religious community. But I am opne for more info!


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#14 2006-05-11 07:25:58

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Here is some more input as to what I was able to track down on my own.


In Zen-Shu when meditating the focus is put in Non-Action/ MU in order to reach this state of emptiness to be as ONE with all. This concept is very clear in the main sutra studied in the Zen schools. The sutra in question is the Diamond sutra (Kongo Hannya Hara Mikkyo or more commonly known as Kongo Kyo). In this sutra we hear Shakyamuni expounding the fact that realization is not to be found in any special action sound word etc etc.. Basically to say that the real quest is not in achieving some supreme goal but just TO BE AS IS.

Now if we go on the Mikkyo side when we read their main sutras or dharanis we can see that special focus and attention is put on action rather than non action to reach realization. In the Rishu-Kyo Dainichi kyo and other mikkyo based scriptures it is often detailed that Dainichi, Shakyamuni or any other player in the sutra Uses Skilful means to expound the Dharma. Those skillful means are often presented as sounds/mantra gestures/Mudra or just the reading itself of the scriptures. Also the Mikkyo schools base their root in the 3 mysteries of Body, Speech and Mind. So this is why any rituals like the Fire ceremony (Goma-Shiki) is a meditation that plays with those 3 mysteries and also the 5 elements in order to create fire/Life.

Now lets compare just sitting meditation between the Zen and Mikkyo schools. Again in Zen the focus is on  reaching Emptiness by Non action. In Mikkyo Emptiness is to be reached by action while meditating. For example there is the Ajikan meditation in which while sitting in lotus position you gaze at a white circle that has the A Bonji (Sanskrit Letter) representing Dainichi Nyorai. This is my simple explanation for Ajikan in order to compare both sides of the medal. Anyway Ajikan is a complexe meditation and I can explain more in detail later if neeeded

So basically in Zen you reach realization by Non Action and in Mikkyo it is done by Action. Again in Japan those 2 major currents seem to be very separate and they will not usually admit that they use Mikkyo especially in Zen but when properly educated in Buddhism you can easily see the Mikkyo influences in Zen. For examples there is the use of mantra Like the Komyo-shingo and various others and also the usage the San dharani exactly in the same fashion and usage as in the Shingon and Tendai schools. Also many branches of Rinzai do give reverence to Dainichi Nyorai which represents the great mystery that makes the world turn.

In any case both cannot really be separated  and both cannot be fully practiced at the same time so this is why you have different schools focusing on different aspects of Kengyo and Mikkyo. Hell Tendai is supposed to be more in the Mikkyo side but many factions of Tendai are more into Kengyo than Mikyyo.


So to Resume and get to the final point. I truly feel that since shakuhachi is a form of physical practice/action and that we seek  realization in the sound (Ichi on jobutsu) that this is a form of Mikkyo practice more than Zen. Now some will say Yes BUT Fuke was a Zen priest. Now lets remember that this was in CHINA and not Japan. In China the Mikkyo and Kengyo teachings were always used at the same time and were not competing against each other like in Japan. Lets not forget that Saicho and Kukai were using that fact that they owned some mysterious teachings in order to gain Court or Millitary government favors power etc.. Anyway this is another story.

Last edited by Gishin (2006-05-11 08:39:56)


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#15 2006-05-11 09:57:41

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3204
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Gishin wrote:

Now lets compare just sitting meditation between the Zen and Mikkyo schools. Again in Zen the focus is on  reaching Emptiness by Non action. In Mikkyo Emptiness is to be reached by action while meditating. For example there is the Ajikan meditation in which while sitting in lotus position you gaze at a white circle that has the A Bonji (Sanskrit Letter) representing Dainichi Nyorai. This is my simple explanation for Ajikan in order to compare both sides of the medal. Anyway Ajikan is a complexe meditation and I can explain more in detail later if neeeded

When Yoshio Kurahashi teaches the song "Ajikan" he always makes a point that he thinks it is not Zen but rather "esoteric" Buddhism. He also compares it to a mandala.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#16 2006-05-11 10:02:44

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Hi Tairaku

If you want when I get home I can get my material that relates to Ajikan and write a little text and give a list of books that offers amterial on the Ajikan meditation.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#17 2006-05-11 11:14:53

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3204
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Gishin wrote:

Hi Tairaku

If you want when I get home I can get my material that relates to Ajikan and write a little text and give a list of books that offers amterial on the Ajikan meditation.

Sure, that would be interesting to read.

Nevertheless, I started playing shakuhachi so I wouldn't have to meditate! There are conflicting reports about whether the Komuso did other kinds of meditation other than suizen. Does anybody know for sure?


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#18 2006-05-11 12:01:09

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Well here is my opinion on this one based on what we know of the Komuso.

Since the komuso were composed of a mixed of individuals coming from multiple backgrounds. Some of them being real monks some ex Samurai that joined in. Those samurai could have been educated in Buddhism or not and might use the komuso identity for survival. Now lets talk about the real serious komuso monks. If they were trained in Zen most likely they only did Zazen if the learned any meditation. If they came from a Tendai or Shingon tradition they would have studied Ajikan,Shikan or Makashikan along with other meditations that are included in the esoterical rituals like the fire ceremony or the Taizokai or Kongokai mandala ceremony.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#19 2006-05-11 17:13:22

Karmajampa
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From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
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Re: Zen and Mikkyo

I feel that one meditates on form to deepen the understanding of formlessness. And vice-versa. One practices not to kill and realizes that this is impossible. A Master of one tradition or practice is a Master of all. There is a continuous transcending of concept and Ego. Of the classical meditations, in the Vishudhimagga there are 38, sometimes 39, each particular maditation will be suited to particular personalities, so it is quite valid that different practices can co-exist in one tradition.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#20 2006-05-11 18:41:32

Kerry
Member
From: Nashville, TN
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 183

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Gishin wrote:

I truly feel that since shakuhachi is a form of physical practice/action and that we seek  realization in the sound (Ichi on jobutsu) that this is a form of Mikkyo practice more than Zen.

Fascinating histories and information!
In my evolving 'zen' practice, I became aware that meditation is an action and focus. Breathing is an action. A calmness and stillness of mind a non-action perhaps. I think, playing shakuhachi is a form of action(breath and sound) and a non-action (the ma). I also agree that, one can utilize different aspects in their dharma practices. I think we have the 'three original compositions' today because of the people involved were adaptive and accepting.....Kerry


The temple bell stops, but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers. -Basho

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#21 2006-05-11 19:07:21

Kiku Day
Shakuhachi player, teacher and ethnomusicologist
From: London, UK & Nrre Snede, DK
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 917
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Hi Brian.

According to the heavy-weight Japanese shakuhachi scholars and ethnomusicologists, such as Tsukitani Tsuneko, Seyama Toru, Shimura Satoshi, the Fuke sect member did not do zazen! Now, I can do a quote - partly because it is past midnight and I should go to bed, but also because I can't remember which article by them this was in... I can't remember if it was in 'The Shakuhachi: The Instrument and its Music, Change and Diversification', translated by Riley Lee. it was in Contemporary Music Review, 1994 8.2:103-129. A very interesting article, by teh way, if you haven't read it already.


I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music
Hafiz

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#22 2006-05-11 20:11:13

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

For those interested here is the Definition of the term Ajikan from the following dictionary

A Dictionary Of Japanese Buddhist Terms 5th edition
By Hisao Inagaki
Publisher: Nagata Bunshodo
ISBN4-8162-0201-3

Page 3

Aji 阿字 the first sound, 'A', In the Sanskrit alphabet. In esoteric Buddhism, the belief is that it embodies the mystic truth, and that one who meditates on it will attain on it buddhahood.

Ajihonpusho 阿字本不生 The letter A (indicating) the originally unproduced (state of things)'; the esoteric principle that all phenomena are originally unproduced. This principle is represented by the first sound of the Sanskrit alphabet 'A'.

Ajikan 阿字観 'meditation on the letter A'; Also gatsurin-Kan* 月輪観 'Meditation on the moon-wheel', Ajigatsurin-Kan  阿字月輪観 'meditation on the letter A in the moon-wheel', etc. In this meditation a practitioner sits in the lotus or half-lotus posture with a painting of the moon in front of him which measures 16 inches in diameter and in which is drawn a lotus with eight petals;on the lotus is drawn a Sanskrit letter A in gold. He keeps meditating on the letter while uttering 'A' as he breathes in and out, until he is able to see the letter in the moon whether he keeps is eyes open or closed. Then he practices meditation on the 'A-moon' in his mind, which is the real substance of the painted 'A-moon'. When this meditation is completed, dualistic views regarding evil passions and enlightenment, the realm of birth and death and Nirvan, etc., are destroyed and Buddhahood is attained with the present body Sokushin Jobutsu 即身成佛.

Now to answer to Kiku. I dont think that I am trying to directly link the komuso to any special practices. In my own view any new current came from something that previously existed. Now that being said the Komuso did not start from nothing especially when they claim some affiliation with Buddhism. So I am pretty sure that not all but the initial people who started the Fukeshu in Japan did practice meditation and other rituals since they came from various Buddhist lineages (Muhon kakushin was Shingon) and from there they built what became the full Fukeshu package. if you study Buddhism deeply in its two forms Kengyo and Mikkyo there is not question or doubt that they indeed built their school on both Kengyo and Mikkyo.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#23 2006-05-11 20:37:43

Karmajampa
Member
From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Here is my take on the sound 'Ah' or the first letter of the sanskrit alphabet.
'Ah' is the sound of wonderment and the mind in the state of question.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#24 2006-05-12 00:58:21

Daniel Ryudo
Shihan/Kinko Ryu
From: Kochi, Japan
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 355

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

It's difficult to know the real religious background of those who started up the Fuke sect as the history of the sect as documented by the Fuke monks seems to be a fabrication made up to get concessions from the Edo Bakufu.  Ethnomusicologist William P. Malm has some interesting things to say about the early komuso which introduces yet another religion into the mix; he says that when the Christian movement in Kyushu was stopped by the slaughter in Shimabara that many of those ronin who had turned Christian felt their class was going to fall victim to the vengeance of the shogun's government and  that a number of these "hidden" Christians were among the early komuso  (p. 168, Traditional Japanese Music and Musical Instruments, by W.P. Malm).  Has anyone read anything else about this, or does anyone know of any documents which support this view?  According to Sanford's article, The Fuke-shu and Komuso (in Monumenta Nipponica 32, 1977), after the Fuke sect was legitimated by the authorities,  ronin who wished to enter the Fuke sect had to present a certification of non Christian belief when applying to join the group (in addition to proof of warrior status, a statement outlining reasons to become a member of Fuke shu, a letter of support from a guarantor, and a written oath to uphold the sect's regulations).

Last edited by Daniel Ryudo (2006-05-12 02:25:19)

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#25 2006-05-12 04:54:14

Josh
PhD
From: Grand Island, NY/Nara, Japan
Registered: 2005-11-14
Posts: 305
Website

Re: Zen and Mikkyo

Gishin,
  I have a question for you about non-action and Zen. You said, "So basically in Zen you reach realization by Non Action and in Mikkyo it is done by Action.", but isn't this one of the differences between Soto and Rinzai Zen? It seems to me that most of the traditional arts in Japan that associate themselves with Zen are associated with the Rinzai sect because of its belief that there are countless ways to attain enlightenment(ex. koans). Through action, many schools of martial arts, tea ceremony, haiku, calligraphy etc. all believe that with focused practice a state of enlightenment can be reached. The Soto sect may have a different take on the subject but it seems that the Rinzai sect does support action as a means of enlightenment. Hence the connection with the Fuke sect and Rinzai shu. I'm not denying Mikkyo's association with action, they seem to promote this means of realization much more than Zen, but it sounds like you may be comparing Soto Zen and Mikkyo. Not trying to argue with you, it just seems that this is why so many arts associate themselves with Rinzai. Please correct me though, I'm not a historian. Time to go practice now...

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